03/27/2017 10:40AM

Hansen taking lower-key path to Derby with Fast and Accurate

Coady Photography
Owner Kendall Hansen is using a different approach as he takes Fast and Accurate down the Kentucky Derby road.

FLORENCE, Ky. – Kendall Hansen thinks he’s gotten a bad rap, and maybe he has.

“I’m just looking to have a good time with my people,” Hansen said. “I mean, I’m like anybody else who wants to enjoy their 15 minutes of fame.”

Assuming all goes well in the coming weeks, Hansen will be back in the racing spotlight as the owner of Fast and Accurate, whose 24-1 upset Saturday in the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park earned the colt a berth in the May 6 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

Five years ago this spring, Hansen subjected himself to ridicule as the owner of his namesake horse, Hansen, who wound up ninth in the 2012 Derby. Before the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland that year, Hansen surrounded himself with scantily clad women dressed in his blue and yellow stable colors while also being stopped short by racing authorities when he attempted to have the colt’s tail dyed blue.

“The story keeps getting propagated, and sometimes I think people are being unfair,” said Hansen, a pain-management doctor in northern Kentucky. “We tried to do it initially to have fun and entertain a lot of fans. Intent-wise, it was all very innocent. This time, I’m not going to try anything like that. I’d rather just have a good time.”

Hansen, 61, clearly was having a great time Saturday, accompanied by his Ukrainian wife of several years, Anastasia, and a few dozen friends and employees, when the Spiral winner’s photo was snapped on the Turfway Polytrack. The entourage has grown even larger following the race: Hansen said he has sold a 27 percent interest to Louisville-based partnerships headed by Harvey Diamond, Jim Shircliff, and David Koenig.

“They’re my friends who also had a share of Hansen,” Hansen said. “What they paid will help offset what it’s going to cost us to supplement to the Triple Crown.”

A $200,000 supplementary fee to make Fast and Accurate eligible for the Triple Crown is not due until entries for the Derby are taken, and Hansen said he will wait until then to pay “in case something unfortunate happens before then.” Fast and Accurate, trained by Mike Maker, will train toward the Derby at the Trackside training center just a few miles from Churchill.

Fast and Accurate earned a relatively low Beyer Speed Figure of 82 in the Spiral and could wind up being the longest shot in the Derby. Hansen is undeterred.

“He ran for a $30,000 tag, so it’s going to be hard for people to bet him,” Hansen said, referring to a maiden-claiming victory by Fast and Accurate at Turfway in early December. “But everybody saw Mine That Bird win the Derby” at 50-1 in 2009. “He was the first horse I threw out when I handicapped the race.”

Fast and Accurate, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, won the Spiral by three-quarters of a length. Blueridge Traveler was second at 35-1, and Convict Pike was third at 10-1.

The Spiral victory was the fourth for Maker and his third with a big longshot, following With a City (48-1 in 2006) and Oscar Nominated (23-1 in 2016). Maker now trails only the late William “Smiley” Adams for the most wins in the Spiral. Adams swept the race every year from 1977 to 1980, including both divisions in three of those four years.